Henkel has announced that CEO Hans Van Bylen will step down at the end of his term, handing over the position to current CFO Carsten Knobel from the start of 2020.
Van Bylen has been with the company for around 35 years, 15 of which were on its Management Board and four years as CEO.
“After about 35 years with Henkel, I have decided that with the expiration of my contract next year, it is now the right time to make an orderly change at the top of the company,” said Van Bylen. “For personal reasons, I will not seek a further term as Chairman of the Management Board. I would like to thank all employees and my colleagues in the Management Board for their dedication and commitment over the past years, as well as all members of our supervisory committees for their support and advice.
“I am also glad that we were able to appoint Carsten Knobel from within our Management Board as successor and CEO. I am convinced that Henkel will continue to develop successfully under his leadership.”
“Hans Van Bylen has made a significant contribution to the successful development of our company over the years and has actively developed numerous senior leaders,” said Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and Shareholders’ Committee. “Under the leadership of Hans Van Bylen, all business units were further strengthened through acquisitions and partnerships.
“The acquisition of Sun Products significantly expanded the market position of our Laundry & Home Care business in the USA, our largest market worldwide. Acquisitions were also made in Adhesive Technologies and Beauty Care. He put particular emphasis on the digitalisation of the company in all areas, which he drove forward with great determination. We would like to sincerely thank him for the important course settings during his time as CEO and for his commitment to our company for more than 35 years.”
Knobel studied business administration and technical chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin, starting his career at Henkel in 1995 as assistant to the Management Board member responsible for research and development. He then moved to the Beauty Care business unit, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility in controlling, mergers and acquisitions and the operating businesses. Following his roles as Head of Corporate Strategy & Controlling and Financial Director of the Beauty Care unit, he was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2012.
“With Carsten Knobel, we have appointed an excellent successor from within the company,” said Dr. Bagel-Trah. “He knows Henkel very well and has many years of international management and leadership experience. He is highly regarded by his colleagues on the Management Board as well as by our employees and has also an excellent reputation in the capital markets. We are convinced that, together with the entire Management Board, he will continue to drive vigorously the development of our company. On behalf of all Henkel committees and employees, I wish him all the best and success for the future.”
Knobel is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Bundesliga Soccer Club Fortuna Düsseldorf in Germany.
“I am grateful for the trust which is expressed through this appointment,” said Knobel. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Management Board and our global team to shape the future of Henkel. We have excellent employees, leading brands and technologies, exciting innovations and great opportunities for further sustainable profitable growth with our businesses in a dynamic market environment.”